How can parents support the development of computational thinking in young children? People usually say that children are too young to develop computational thinking, but there are age-appropriate computer programs and activities that can help introduce computational thinking in young children. Computational thinking can be defined as taking a complex problem, breaking it down, and finding possible solutions to it. Computational thinking is important because it fosters problem-solving and creative thinking.

When people think about computational thinking, they immediately associate it with computer science or math. Does this mean that in order for young children to be computational thinkers they have to be good with computers and math? This is not necessarily true. Young children can use their computational thinking across different content areas and everyday context that do not require the use of a computer. An example of how young children can activate their computational thinking skills is through simple daily activities. For example, when picking up their toys after play children are problem solving by thinking and reflecting on their cleaning by making sure that the toys are put back to the place where they were originally found. Another example is when getting ready for school children are taking small steps such as brushing their teeth, getting dress, gathering their materials and more to complete a more complex activity. This makes me think that parents should be more involved in learning about computational thinking and how they can help their children develop this skill in order for them to be able to find possible solutions in any given situation.   

How can teachers encourage parents to incorporate computational thinking in everyday activities? Teachers should work together with parents to help develop computational thinking in young children. Teachers can provide parents with examples of activities or games they can perform with their children to help them use their computational thinking skills.  I believe that if teachers and parents work together, they will not only prepare children to think creatively and define and solve their own problems, they will also help strengthen their relationship with that child.

A sprite is a special character image and a costume can be described as different movements/poses that can be made by the sprite. 

 My Scratch Program includes my family composition, things I like to eat, and things I like to do.

This is a project I created by following one of the tutorials in Scratch. Scratch has many step-by-step tutorials that can help users learn about new skills they can use in Scratch.

All the sounds I incorporated in my build a band program were taken from the Scratch website. I included instrument sounds such as C Trumpet, Tap Conga, and C2 Elec Guitar to better represent each instrument in the band. Also, I included other sounds like Drum Funky and Hi Beatbox to make it sound more like a real band.

 In this project, I remixed another creator’s program. Remixing refers to modifying an existing program on Scratch to contribute to the creators ideas.

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Regina
July 11, 2022 12:27 pm

I really enjoy reading your post “Computational Thinking NOT Robots”, because as you mention “Young children can use their computational thinking across different content areas and everyday contexts that do not require the use of a computer.” Children are able to use their prior learning skills that they learn at home when they are doing home chores. For example, mopping the floor, the child learns that in order to remove the dirt from the floor it is necessary to move the mop side to side to be able to clean it. Therefore, parents also use developmentally appropriate activities that are developmentally appropriate for children.
Another sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “Young children can use their computational thinking across different content areas and everyday contexts that do not require the use of a computer.” I agree with you because the assumption that in order for children to use computational thinking is not necessarily for them to have a computer with them. Just by using their critical thinking are enough for young children to develop computational thinking
Thanks for sharing this post. I look forward to reading your future post because I enjoyed reading your writing style.

Crystal
July 9, 2022 6:40 pm

Dear Maritza:
I enjoyed reading your article “Computational Thinkers NOT Robots” because it shows how parents can support their children understand the concept while performing every day tasks. One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is “When people think about computational thinking, they immediately associate it with computer science or math.” I agree with this quote. Most of the time people associate this term math and computer science and think that it is complicated or hard to learn, they do not know that there are programs such as scratch that are age appropriate and can help children start learning to code in a fun way.
Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next because I really liked to how you explained this concept and the examples you provided.

October 19, 2021 3:30 pm

Maritza,
I enjoy the opinions you’ve shared on your post “Computational Thinkers NOT Robots”. I especially liked the various examples from Scratch that you’ve provided. I personally used scratch from 6th-9th grade for various projects, and I completely agree that it teaches young kids how to problem solve, but furthermore I believe that it acts as a “first step” to young people who want to get into coding.

Aniya
August 23, 2021 6:18 pm

Dear Maritza:
I am intrigued by your post, “ Computational Thinkers NOT Robots,” because the title alone dismantle a bias that many people might hold. I know that when I first thought about computational thinking, I solely thought about codes that were complex and a bunch of 1s and 0s. I had never considered that computational thinking was far more than one’s ability to arrange difficult codes to achieve a certain action.

One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “Young children can use their computational thinking across different content areas and everyday context that do not require the use of a computer.” I think this is quote is so interesting because I think the main assumption that many hold is that computational thinking is solely useful when interacting with a computer. Computational thinking is accessible and available beyond a computer. 

Another sentence that I enjoyed was: “Teachers should work together with parents to help develop computational thinking in young children.” This stood out for me because many times, we seek to learn about how we as educators can carry out instruction in the classroom, forgetting the importance that parents also have in their children’s learning. Involving parents in what we do in the classroom and also teaching them the content we are presenting allows them to support our students while at home. 
 Have you seen this resource “Computational Thinking Activities”? ( https://www.stem.family/activities/computational-thinking-activities/ ) I thought you might be interested in this because of the variety of activites that students can engage in that require them to computationally think in a fun way.

Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next because your writing style is truly enjoyable to read. 

Marina
August 22, 2021 8:58 pm

Dear Maritza: 

I am uplifted your post, “Computational Thinkers NOT Robots,” because right from the start you identify that computation thinking is a process that should be included within the early childhood curriculum. Also, you recognize that not everyone may agree with this statement but continue your argument with solid reasons for why its inclusion is necessary. Finally, I am excited by your motivation and commitment to support a home-school connection around computational thinking skills so that your learners can implement these skills in more than one setting. 

One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “People usually say that children are too young to develop computational thinking, but there are age-appropriate computer programs and activities that can help introduce computational thinking in young children.” I think this is a common misunderstanding because people do not always realize that computational thinking is a part of what many people of all ages do every day to complete tasks. Additionally, people often assume that computational thinking means more time on the computer and an increase in screen time. However, as you mentioned in your post, there are so many ways to support the development of computational thinking without even turning on a computer.  

Have you seen this presentation, Reading, Writing, …. and Computing? Teaching Coding to Young Children? I thought you might be interested in this because the speaker focuses on the significance that early childhood computational thinking experiences have on coding development. She shares how the youngest learners in her school using coding tools that are screen-free and this supports the role and sequence of computational thinking. Additionally, she stresses how she believes that these tools align with essential components for young people: play, exploration, and movement.  

Another sentence that I strongly agree with was: “I believe that if teachers and parents work together, they will not only prepare children to think creatively and define and solve their own problems, they will also help strengthen their relationship with that child.” This stood out for me because I also believe that the partnership between families and school is essential to the success of the child. Working as a team, family members and educators can identify areas of strength and next steps for a learner. Educators can gain valuable information from family members. This includes discovering the child’s passions and interests, strengths, and learning history. In turn, educators can make recommendations based on the whole child as to how a family can support learning at home. This is not only true with computational thinking, but in all areas. Helping families to identify where content goals live within their home lives is a unique way to help the learner practice using skills in more than one setting. 

Thanks for your writing and sharing your ideas. 

Marina 

Nile
August 20, 2021 12:56 am

Dear Maritza:

I really enjoyed your post on “Computational Thinkers NOT Robots”. It was well written and certainly a lot of ground was covered in this piece. You definitely brought up a lot of interesting points. One sentence that you wrote which stood out to me was your opening line when you said How can parents support the development of computational thinking in young children? Not only is this an excellent question to grab the readers attention but it’s a great question in general to the topic as well. One of the biggest challenges is for parents to figure out how to help their students with their academics. It’s hard to support children with their thinking in general because they have a lot to learn and experience as they age and get older. To support their computational thinking is a whole new challenge within itself. To teach children how to think a certain way to complete a task while their logic is still developing isn’t easy at all. I loved your solution that suggested that teachers should work with the parents to help develop computational thinking in young children. I think this is the best strategy to help students work towards a common goal and knowing how to think. I’d like to thank you for writing about this topic because it was very good and made me think about a lot of things in relation to this. I look forward to seeing what you’ll write about next I think that parents need to be more involved with their children’s education to help them apply what they learn outside the classroom as you said.

Laura
August 18, 2021 9:17 pm

Dear Maritza:

I really enjoyed reading your post “Computational Thinkers NOT Robots”You highlighted key points about the children’s s computational thinking as well as parents’ involvement. As we learned, parents’ participation is essential for their child’s education and learning. 
 
One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “Young children can use their computational thinking across different content areas and everyday contexts that do not require the use of a computer.” I think this is very important to know because some people can have the misconception about computational thinking. As you mentioned before, this promotes children in different subject areas not only with computers. 
 
Another sentence that I agree with was: “Teachers should work together with parents to help develop computational thinking in young children.” This stood out for me because teachers and parents should work together for the benefit of the child. Sometimes parents are not aware of how they can support their child, and if teachers provide parents with information this will help the child to succeed. 
 
Have you seen this article https://www.edsurge.com/news/2019-12-11-parents-don-t-need-to-be-coding-experts-just-willing-to-learn-with-their-children? I thought you might be interested in this because some parents may be afraid of computational thinking and this article talks about how parents do not need to be an expert to support their child with coding. 
 
Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next because I really enjoy reading your post. You mention essential information that I will keep in mind such as working together with the student’s parents.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paul Allison

Youth Voices is an open publishing and social networking platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.  See more About Youth VoicesTerms of ServicePrivacy Policy.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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